Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Who Do You Think You Are

"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

~Malachi 4:6

One program which we really love to watch is "Who Do You Think You Are," which airs on the BBC over here on Wednesday nights. Last week's episode saw Robin Gibb tracing his ancestry and it was quite an emotional journey for him in many respects. I really enjoy the turns and twists that these journies take and wish that I had the money and resources to do my own family history in that way. (You can keep up with the episodes here on the BBC iplayer.) This week they will be doing Richard Madeley of the Richard and Judy fame.

There is an ancestor in my family that we have been chasing for a long time, but to no avail. We know that one of my ancestors named Boyd McNayr landed in Halifax in 1786. He was approximately 8 years old, having been born at or near Glasgow, Scotland in 1778. He was left in Halifax with friends by his father, who was "in the King's service." His father went to sea and was never seen nor heard from again, presumed lost in 1787. We have no idea of what his father's name was or if there was a mother. Boyd moved out to the valley and married a woman named Rachel Beals in 1802 and there is a wonderful story of them moving down to Springfield, Nova Scotia with her sitting pregnant on a horse, and him guiding the horse all the way there, which would have been some considerable journey!

They went on to have 14 children, but the one I am interested in was Arod McNyr, who was born in 1813, in Springfield. He married a woman named Diadama Whitman in 1840 and they went on to have some 11 children, but the one that is my direct ancestor was Ida McNayr, who was born in 1845.

This is Ida McNayr Smith.

She is my Great Great Great Grandmother on my mother's mother's side. When I look at her I see a strong family resemblance to certain members of my family. It's the eyes and the nose. These features are scattered throughout my family to this day.

My mother told me that she lived with my Great Great Grandmother's family and that she was not very well treated by them . . . this is according to stories told by my Great Grandmother and Grandmother. I can't quite remember the circumstances, so I must ask my mother about them again to be clear. My late Aunt Freda was our family historian and she passed away several years ago. I used to talk to her all the time about our family history, but sadly all her work has been misplaced . . .

I would love to know who Boyd McNayr's father was, and so am hoping one day that we will be able to travel up to Scotland and search records there to see if we can find him. I only know that Boyd was born at or near Glasgow, but am hoping that will be enough to make a start. It sure would be helpful if I could have all the resources to hand that these celebrities have on Who Do You Think You Are!

Family history of course is very important in my church. Not only is it a lot of fun and quite addictive, as many people in the world can attest to. (There seems to be a natural yearning in all peoples to discover their roots.) Those of us who have been bitten by the family history bug know just how much fun it can be. But this isn’t why we have the largest genealogical library in the world and why 13 million Mormons are encouraged to research their family roots. Rather, we are driven by our doctrines which teach that marriage and families can continue beyond this life. But this can only happen when families are sealed together in one of the Lord’s holy temples around the world and united for all eternity. You can read more about that here, if you are interested.

I think it's pretty exciting to be able to trace one's roots back and if you have pictures to look at, it's even more exciting, especially when you see family traits that have been carried on down through the generations, and read about the things they have done and accomplished. Have any of you been able to research or find out fascinating stories about your ancestors? I would love to hear them! Please do share!

I am doing my visiting teaching this afternoon, which will be fun. I do so love to visit the sisters under my care. My life since I joined the church has always been greatly blessed by the Visit Teaching program and I have found through the years that the sisters I have visited, and that the sisters who have visited me and partnered with me have become much valued and beloved friends. I don't know of anyone that can't use more of those!

Look at the fun little piece I did yesterday afternoon. Yes, I am on a hat's kick lately! I love them. I never wear one, as I don't think I look very good in one, but I do enjoy looking at them, and it would seem, drawing them!

And now for the recipe today. It is a simple one, easy to make and uses ingredients I normally have to hand in my store cupboard. Todd always loves it when I make this. Not quite as modest as Beans on Toast, but just as tasty. This is comfort food, plain and simple. With a delicious salad on the side, this was anything but ordinary . . .

*Beans and Wieners Under Cornbread*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This makes a delicious and simple supper. Hearty and family pleasing. Todd really enjoys this when I make it and I can say with a certainty that the leftovers taste even better the next day, so it’s worth making the whole recipe, however you can quite successfully cut the recipe in two if you wish.

1 package of smoked frankfurters
2 (415g) tins of baked beans
1 heaping dessertspoon of tomato sauce
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS dark soft brown sugar
1 tsp hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
(You can cut this down if you don’t like your food too spicy)
1 TBS dark molasses (in the UK you can use a combination of dark treacle and golden syrup)

1 cup flour
¼ cup caster sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal (polenta in the UK)
1 cup buttermilk
2 TBS olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces roasted diced green chilies
¾ cup grated strong cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced red onion

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/375*F. Cut the frankfurters into 1 inch pieces and brown them in a large hot skillet. (There is no need to add any fat to the skillet). Once they are browned add the beans, tomato sauce, mustard, sugar, molasses and pepper sauce. Stir it all together really well and bring to a simmer. Let cook for about five minutes, on low heat, while you make the cornbread mixture.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the cornmeal and ½ cup of the grated cheese. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil and egg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry just enough to combine, without over mixing. Fold in the roasted chilies and red onion.

Place the hot bean mixture in a lightly buttered casserole dish*. Pour the cornbread mixture over top. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of grated cheese. Bake in the heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cornbread is well risen and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

*Note- You can also bake this in individual casserole dishes as I have done above.

Over in The English Kitchen today, some Smashed and Roasted New Potatoes. (Plus I reveal the winner of my Tala measure cup giveaway!)


happywomanuk said...

When I was researching my mother's family I discovered some of them had died in Utah. Thinking this must be a mistake I dug deeper and it turned out that some ancestors had been recruited by the LDS Church and made the journey from Liverpool to NY and then on foot across the plains to Utah. This was in the mid 1800's and they suffered unimaginable difficulties on the way, sadly many not making it. The Internet receives a lot of negative press, but how great is it that I have been able to connect with my cousin in the States as a result of our online research.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

We have researched a lot of our family ancestry. With so much on line now there is a lot of info available. You are fortunate to have so many photos that is one thing we don't have. It does take a lot of time but lots of fun.
I hope your Wednesday is a wonderful one!

Sheryl said...

Genealogy is quite infectious isn't it? I love reading the stories of those who so diligently left what was familiar through hardship and trial to be and go with the plan God had for them. It really does turn our hearts to them. My prayers are with you to find your connections! Love from California!

Linda said...

Marie--I love to read about people's families and see old photos! Not many photos from my family; they were all very poor. I need to contact a cousin and find out if, after my uncle died (he inherited my grandfather's house) there were any photos of the family found. I would love to see my dad as a child or a young man. Perhaps they had a photo taken when he was Confirmed. Otherwise the oldest pictures I have of him are when he served in World War II.

My mom always told a a sweet story about her parents, who were born and raised on the island of Ischia off Naples. In 1883 (I believe), Mount Vesuvius erupted and there was a terrible earthquake in the area. My great-grandmother was struck by large stones and injured while protecting her baby daughter. The baby died and g-grandmother only lived a year afterwards. My great-grandfather then remarried a woman who was the stereotypical "evil stepmother": she favored her own children over her adopted ones. At nine years old, my grandfather was already working in the fields. Every morning he would pass the home of a little girl a month younger than he was. At nine years old, she could already cook and sew. When she found out his stepmother didn't feed him in the morning, she invited him in and fed him breakfast each morning, and if his clothes needed mending (his stepmother didn't do this for him, either) she mended them for him while he ate. That little girl later became my grandmother.

So they really were "childhood sweethearts." I always loved that story.

happywomanuk said...

@Linda, What a lovely story. It just doesn't bear thinking about, nine year olds working, and yet sadly in some places this is still happening.

Marie said...

Linda what a happy ending to a sad story. I love it when that happens. I know that Boyd's story had a happy ending as well. It could not have been easy having been left in Halifax with strangers while his father went back to sea. I assume his mother must have already perished prior to he and his father coming to Canada. And then for his father not to return . . . I can only hope that those he was left with treated him well. I do know that he made his way out to the Annapolis Valley when he was around 11 and apprenticed to a Blacksmith in Lawrencetown. He met his wife in Wilmot, which is another Valley town. I am sure that most of us would find stories of great hardship in our family histories. I cherish all that these strong and inspiring people left behind as their legacies. I love to think that perhaps I have inherited some of their better qualities! Thanks so much for sharing!

LeAnn said...

This was an awesome post on family history. I loved the pictures andh thoughts about your ancestors. I have been trying to do a little research here and there. Recently I was able to find a couple of names that needed all of their temple work; so my grandson's did the baptisms on their youth baptismal trip. We are going to do the rest of the work.
We have a TV story on Genealogy here, also. They have done some of the more famous people and followed them from start to finish. They were able to visit the places of their ancestors. I will take a peak at your TV show.
Loved the hats; they are so cute.
I too have a love for Visiting Teaching. In fact, I am heading off for lunch with one of my companions that moved out of the ward. These are lasting friendships.
Some of my ancestors came from Scottland; I would love to visit all of the areas someday.
I loved your post today and I am sending hugs to you!

Sybil said...

sorry to be late today Marie but just as I was about to "send" this morning Peter came in and had not had a cuppa as he had no milk so had to up and make him something !!
I love seeing your old photo's..

I think if you do ever get round to investigating in Scotland you might find that the spelling would be McNair and probably you would find that his Father's name would have been Boyd as well and also his Grandfathers. In Scotland it was always the way that we were called after our Grandparents etc etc...
Hope you have enjoyed this lovely sunny hot day.
Love Sybil x

Sandie said...

Hi Marie
Have you tried Scotlands People to find your ancester? I think you have to register and buy credits to view the documents but it might be worthwhile (and cheaper than travelling to Scotland!)

I'm stuck with mine as they are all immigrants from Russia, and I don't have enough information to trace them back there.